Ripon to: Hawes
Awesome. A61 stretch leading into Ripon bend after sweeping bend, perfectly cambered. Ripon to Masham fast and twisty. Masham to Middleton to Leyburn even more so. Leyland to Aysgarth to Hawes even better. This route is the next best thing to the TT circuit.
Inverness to: Ullapool
Now this just HAS to be the best biking road in GB, let alone Scotland. Take the A9 from Inverness to Tore (ordinary old main road). At Tore go onto A935 and start to enjoy yourself. If you're peckish, stop at the filling station just before Garve and have yourelf a wee snack. I can recomend the Breakfast Rolls. Once past Garve itself, the road starts to open out and the speed goes up. Just past the Aultguish Inn and the snow gates, the road climbs and widens along the side of Loch Glascarnoch. It is well surfaced and is one sweeping bend after another with good views of what's coming the other way (usually not a lot). This is ton plus country. Once past the Loch, it's sweeping bends and long straights all the way to Corrieshalloch Gorge (where there's a catering caravan - we Scots like our tea!!). From there, it's a gentle canter for the remaining miles to Ullapool. If you're into camping, the site is at the end of the village, past the ferry terminal. If not, there is a Youth Hostel on the main street or there are many B&B's. The pubs are all good, but very busy in the summer months. The pub beside the ferry terminal has a fish restaurant above, which is good and reasonably priced. Every thing seems to stay open until well after 10pm in season. Being in the wilds, there's not much sign of Law & Order, but BEWARE! the guy from the Caravan Site was clocked (and booked) somewhere between Glascarnoch and Corrieshalloch at something about 140! - You have been warned, just because you can't see the Polis, don't mean to say they aint there!! Yes, it's some piece of road. Even I, an upstanding officer of the Law, have been known to give it the berries on this fine piece of the road makers art. Keep the shiney side up and ENJOY!!!!
Ullapool to: Durness
I KNOW you will have a good time, just getting to Ullapool,however the best is yet to come.Heading out of the village the surface is none too clever on the twisties, so canny as you go until you get to Ardmair. From here the corners start to open out, and this really is as good as it gets,sweeping left,right past moor and mountain, pushing ever harder as your confidence grows.There are a couple of nasty off camber corners between Elphin (nice coffee shop )and Ledmore junction otherwise,no problem.
From ledmore to Skiag bridge the road west takes you past Jacobite castles,subterranean cave paintings,and the fantastic Ben More Assynt( for all you Munroeists ) Stop a while at Inchnadamph hotel,renowned for its traditional fare and comfortable surroundings, ensuring that the fab bar lunch does'nt interfere with your ability to take on the next bit.Onwards and upwards to Kylesku,this section climbs to around 1500 feet,and offers some peachy hairpin swithbacks,although you will struggle to keep your eyes on the job with mountains fighting for space at every turn.On gaining Kylesku bridge,the surface improves to racetrack levels,and off the bridge, the right,left twisties up from sea level are without a doubt the best you will ever see.
From here to Scourie the designer of this road ensured that modern technology could operate at its best,no off camber corners,fast sweepers,BIG straights,plenty of room and no-one to get in your way. Scourie to Durness is about 26 miles and is a mixed bag of single track and fast A road, just watch out for the sheep (bring wellies if you must !!!) Petrol can be bought at Ullapool,Scourie,Rhichonich and Durness. (A full circuit via Tongue,Lairg can also see the purchase of fuel in both these places).No super unleaded north of Ullapool though,sorry !! Police presence is minimal north of Ullapool, however there are stories circulating that they are using a Fireblade between Inverness and the bigger towns on the west coast,they do however have some seriously powerful cars available, and are not averse to sitting in the middle of no-where ,(at any time), in order to pull you, as you get the blade up to full chat.Dont bother running, as there is only one road up the west anyway. Have fun ,just remember its very remote up here and help can be a long way off, otherwise give it some, and then give it some more, cheers
Andover to: Newbury
I am blessed that this is the road I get to travel to work on every day. OK, most of the time I wimp-out and take the car, but on the bike, it puts a smile on my face. Here it is. As you leave Andover under Enham Arch you are tempted by a short stretch of dual carriageway interspersed with a couple of fast clearview roundabouts - get the tyres warmed up here. Give it a quick blast on the short stretch of open road between Andover and Enham, but watch out 'cos this road holds flood water for days after rain. Steady through Enham and don't be tempted to wind-it up too quickly 'cos the first right hander is tight. Now you can go. Into the dip and then into the forrest stretch (some nice twisties - watch out for pheasents and deer) before emerging high above Hurstbourne.
If the conditions are right and you are on the road early in the morning, you may now be given a real treat as you aften get a cloud inversion in the Valley below. It looks stunning as you descend from clear skies into mist. The drop into Hurstbourne is quite steep, over the bridge, lovely double-s (slow though and steady for villagers). As you come out of the village you get a clear view up the hill - wind it back here and burn-off the slowbies. Fast right hander at the top and then power on down the straight past Essebourne Manor. The next bit I find tricky. A sweeping downhill righ-hander through the forrest, followed by a moderatley tight lefty at the bottom. I don't know if its a slight unfavourable camber, or 'cos I've seen two many cars ploughing fields here, but that combo plays on my mind and I always tighten-up! Now a couple of fast bends and up and downy bits (good stuff) before a long up-hill straight through the trees (this looks stunning coming the other way). At the top, another combo, this time a lefty, followed by a down-hill right and then a fast left, before hitting the straight past the Yew Tree. Steady thro' Highclere, under the A34 and onwards into Newbury.
If you do this in reverse, watch out for speed-traps: (i) as you come out of Highclere and (ii) at the bottom of the hill as you enter Hurstbourne. Have fun. About 15 miles of it.
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